A fantastic idea and one that is quite overdue. From RochesterHomePage.net:
The event marks the first time that the Panthers will play a game in Rochester. The Panthers and Amerks are in the second year of a three-year affiliation deal. The game is also the first NHL game played in Rochester since the Buffalo Sabres hosted the Washington Capitals on October 26, 2005 in a regular season Contest.
Keith from Let'sGoAmerks! comments on the deal (and a bit more as well):
Any positive news is good news. This is being done because it’s something Curt Styres had asked about and the Panthers said they could do if it could be worked out. Randy Sexton also said that if the schedule allows the Panthers could also spend a couple of days practicing here in Rochester. It will all depend on the rest of the schedule.
There have been rumblings in PantherLand about the "lost" preseason and training camp of last September; the lack of a first-hand opportunity to observe and be party to the goings-on of the first days of camp to the start of the regular season. Certainly, the past few years have seen the Cats rack up hellacious mileage before the first official puck drop in October.
As I see it, any goodwill extended to the organization's number one affiliate can only produce a stronger marriage between the two, and given the Panthers and Americans are in the middle of a three-year working arrangement, this can go a long way toward solidifying a partnership which has - until recently - forever been on shaky ground. For a variety of reasons.
This deal is, of course, in addition to the contractual binder with Port Hawkesbury, NS, but that appearance would be unaffected as the Cats would presumably wrap that trip early in the exhibition schedule.